DEP LIFTS DROUGHT WATCH IN MONMOUTH AND OCEAN COUNTIES
(10/P124) TRENTON - DEP Commissioner Bob Martin today announced the lifting of the drought watch for the coastal north region of the state, including nearly all of Monmouth County and northern Ocean County. Evidence of a return to more normal rainfall, cooler temperatures, and diminished water supply demands led to the decision to rescind the drought watch designation in this region, said the Commissioner.
The drought watch for the rest of the state was lifted on Oct. 26.
Reservoir and groundwater levels have been gradually rising in the coastal north in recent weeks. But because the precipitation deficit has not been completely erased, Commissioner Martin asked residents of Monmouth and Ocean counties to continue to be prudent in their use of water.
"I'd like to thank the residents of the coastal north area and the rest of the New Jersey for voluntarily reducing nonessential water consumption during a record hot and dry summer and early fall," said Commissioner Martin. "That cooperation helped us all get through a stressful time for the state's water supply. But I am still urging residents to use this precious resource wisely.''
Because the recovery has been relatively short-lived and conditions could again deteriorate, DEP staff will continue to closely monitor conditions through the winter and into next year's peak water use period, he said.
More consistent rainfall since the beginning of October has generally improved water supply conditions throughout New Jersey. Based on this improvement, a statewide drought watch was lifted on Oct. 26, for all but the coastal north region, where the recovery has been slower.
Over the past several months, the coastal north has been consistently drier than the rest of New Jersey, and high water demands posed a potential threat to available supplies. A combination of reservoir storage that was below the long-term average and severely dry and shallow ground water levels led to extended scrutiny of this area.
State Climatologist David Robinson of Rutgers University said New Jersey experienced its warmest summer on record since weather data has been kept starting in 1895. At the same time, below average rainfall accompanied the heat.
A drought watch is a response to deteriorating water supply conditions, with a goal of raising public awareness and formally alerting all water suppliers to the situation, to help preserve existing supplies and balance reservoir storage. It calls for voluntary water conservation.
More information on water conservation and water supply status can be found at www.njdrought.org/ideas.html and www.njdrought.org/status.html
Information on the State's 90-day precipitation rate can be found at